Welcome to Powell Clinic Skip to content

Powell Clinic Treatment of  Plantar Fasciitis

Many years ago I had the opportunity to study with Dr. Vladimir Janda on the occasions that he visited the United States.  He visited from Czechoslovakia, where he headed up a Rehab facility.

I remember him saying that Americans had the worst feet he had ever seen in his world-wide travels.  He attributed this to the habitual wearing of athletic shoes as everyday footwear.  He believed that this weakened the foot and left it susceptible to injury.  In other countries athletic footwear is used only for athletic events.

How did we let our feet get into such terrible shape?

Our feet are stuffed  into shoes before we can even walk.  We buy shoes with cushy heels that allow us to abuse our feet with careless, hard hitting heel strikes that no barefoot walker could tolerate. Runners overtrain, or suddenly increase their mileage.  Sedentary folk gain weight and put undue stress on their feet.

What is it?

Plantar Fasciitis involves all the tissues of the foot… the fascia, the muscles and the bony skeleton itself.  We need to discover why they are not  playing well together.

Plantar Fasciitis is a painful inflammation of the tissues of the sole of the foot.  The sheet of tissue, known as the plantar fascia, spans the distance from toes to heel and across the arch of the foot. It is strong tissue meant to support and doesn’t like to be overstretched.  While we ‘name and blame’ the fascia, plantar fasciitis is in equal part a muscle problem.  Muscles that have been overused or poorly used develop trigger points, or small over-tight areas within the muscle that contribute significant pain to the foot.

A consideration often overlooked is poor posture and faulty movement patterns.  This frequently  starts with a lower back or pelvic misalignment and subsequently involves  tightened muscles  throughout the leg, calf and foot causing the foot to be placed incorrectly during the gait cycle… better known as ‘walking’.

What can you do about it?

First of all, I would test out my ‘range of motion’.  Can I pull my foot toward my shin easily and equal to the uninjured foot?  How about the opposite direction?  Can I point my toes down, equally and comfortably. Sometimes the foot cramps in this position… think dehydration!!

Now start exploring the sole of your foot with a ball. The general recommendation is a golf ball, but I think they are too hard.  Steal the dog’s toy.  Roll it around, find some tender spots and gently work them out, a bit at a time.  If it is particularly tender, roll a bottle filled with ice water to reduce inflammation as you work.  Start at the ball of the foot and work backwards toward the heel, working in circles as you go. Don’t work so hard that you cause more inflammation. Maybe work 20 seconds up to a minute or two.  You  can do this several times a day, just keep it short. Next check out the muscles north of the foot.  Is your calf tight? How about your hamstrings? Check this by lying on your back and with your knee locked raise your leg to 90 degrees.  Short of that, you have tight hamstrings.  With your leg still raised, pull your foot to your shin. That will tell you if your calf is tight.  Almost a certainty it’s Plantar Fasciitis!  Work on calf, hamstrings and even quads (front of thigh) with a foam roller.  Your gym has one or you can purchase.

Last, and probably most important… have a friend watch you walk toward them or ‘catch’ you when you are not paying attention.  Does one foot flare out more than the other?  Your pelvis may be out of alignment.  Get to your Chiropractor.  That rotation will not only affect your feet, but your knee and hip too.

How We Can Help You

Plantar Fasciitis is a difficult problem. It takes work to resolve. It usually requires professional intervention to treat the fascia, the muscle trigger points and the structural misalignments.  Assisted stretches, Ultrasound, Diathermy and Acupuncture are all tools I have used to treat this condition.  The home therapies will reduce your treatment time if you cannot resolve this on your own.

Call Powell Clinic at (480) 990-0664 to schedule your consultation today!